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CMMA - replacing the CP140 Aurora

Edward Campbell

Army.ca Myth
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⚠️ Off topic⚠️ and Geezer eruption

It's fairly important to remember that the C-17s, the Chinooks, the newish C-130Js and the new Leopard tanks were all purchased, by direction, by one Minister of National Defence. In the process, he made himself wildly unpopular with the entire bureaucracy, from PCO on down, with the military, especially, the CDS of the day, who was both publicly and politically very popular, and with the PM and PMO.

Gordon O'Connor told the CDS that he (O'Conor) didn't give a flying fig about the CDS' views on equipment: it was the government's responsibility to equip the military, the CDS is allowed to advise ... that's it. Constitutionally, O'Connor was 100% correct.

O'Connor told the supply and procurement bureaucrats that they didn't need "competition." Anyone and everyone, he said, knew that there was no practical alternative to any of the C-17, Chinook, C-130J or Leopards. They knew it too, he said, and all they needed was enough balls to make the right decisions .. or just get out of his way.

To the PM and PMO he is reputed to have said something like: "It's our war, now, and they are our sailors, soldiers and flyers and we are responsible for their very lives. If we send them to their deaths in G-Wagons rather than proper APCs and tanks then you, Stephen Harper, must meet every flippin' flight that brings their bodies home and you must explain your choices to every widow and mother."

Gordon O'Connor was, in my view, the best MND since Brooke Claxton (1946-54) who, against the united, coordinated wishes of his admirals and generals, built the military force that Canada needed ... as opposed to the one that the admirals and generals wanted.

Claxton was a success because he was doing what the PM of the day wanted and that PM expected his ministers run their own departments. O'Connor failed, politically, because he had neither public nor top-level political support for doing the right things. O'Connor was, still and all, a better MND than all of Paul Hellyer, Bud Drury, Kim Campbell, Bill Graham, Peter MacKay, Harjit Sajjan and Anita Anand combined.


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